11 June 2010


MiaSolé sets efficiency record for commercial-scale thin-film PV modules

MiaSolé of Santa Clara, CA, USA, which was founded in 2001 to make copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic modules, says that the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has independently confirmed the 13.8% energy conversion efficiency of its large-area (1m2) production modules. 

“The modules that we ship in 2011 will have efficiencies greater than 13%,” says MiaSolé’s CEO Dr Joseph Laia. “The only reason that we are not shipping these modules today is that we are awaiting the completion of our UL certifications,” he adds.

MiaSolé says that the new high efficiency will allow it to offer solar modules with the efficiency of polysilicon and the lower manufacturing costs of thin-film modules.

“This demonstration is a tremendous step forward in closing the gap between the potential of CIGS results, and what actually can be achieved in a large-area production module,” says Dr Ryne Raffaelle, director of the National Center for Photovoltaics at NREL.

MiaSolé’s manufacturing process deposits CIGS on a flexible stainless-steel substrate and produces all layers of the photovoltaic material in a continuous sputtering process. The firm claims to be the only thin-film solar company that uses sputtering at every step for coating the modules, reducing manufacturing time and production costs.

MiaSolé currently operates two manufacturing facilities, with plans to open a third in 2010. The firm will ship 6.5MW in the first half of this year, and expects to ship 22MW in total in 2010. Products are designed for utilities and independent power producers to use in industrial-scale deployments such as large-scale rooftop and ground-mount installations.

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